Signature Programs

Middle School

Advisory

All Upper School students meet twice daily in a small advisory group, co-led by two faculty members. Advisors watch over and foster the social, emotional, and academic growth of their students, acting as personal, in-school advocates and coaches. Daily morning and afternoon advisory provide time for students to organize their work and for advisors to check in with their students. Biweekly advisory blocks engage students in a mindfulness curriculum and other social and emotional skill-building activities. Advisors also serve as a first point of contact for parents, partnering proactively to ensure all students are fully engaged and thriving in the IDEAL community.

ArtBeat

ArtBeat is IDEAL’s annual art and performance showcase, with schoolwide exhibits of our students' creative endeavors displayed throughout both school buildings. Each spring, as the school year begins to wind down, our community takes the time to reflect upon, celebrate, and display the body of work that our students have accomplished throughout the year in the creative arts. IDEAL families tour our school art gallery and students share the motivations and techniques behind their work. The authentic, gallery-opening-style approach provides an opportunity for students to display their skills and work, and their creations reflect each artist's creative spirit, courage, tenacity, and unique style of expression.

Common Sense Media

IDEAL is an official Common Sense Media Supporter School. Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children thrive in a world of media and technology by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of technology as a positive force in their lives. Common Sense Media provides professional development and resources for faculty and weekly tips for families to provide guidance for navigating and engaging with today’s social media in a safe and productive way.

Community Time

Student-led assemblies occur biweekly on Thursdays after lunch, alternating with club time in the Upper School schedule. Assemblies include eighth grade IDEALTalks, announcements, and presentations from outside speakers. On the first day of school, a special schedule includes an assembly at which students learn about opportunities to propose and lead clubs and to run for student council. Community Time is focused on our diversity and ability curricula and on our social justice programming.

Diversity Curriculum

Our unique Diversity Curriculum is a core component of multicultural education at IDEAL. IDEAL’s Diversity Curriculum gives students the critical thinking skills they need to solve problems in their own lives, in their local communities, and on a global scale.

Civil Rights Journey

Students engage in this Civil Rights Journey to the South in the spring of their eighth grade year as a capstone to their study of civil rights issues and activists throughout their Middle School years. To prepare for the trip, each student selects an area of interest to research, which students will then document and blog about when they visit related sites. Over the course of this multi-day trip, students travel to places such as Alabama, Georgia, and/or Atlanta, where they will have opportunities to stand in the places where history happened, walk in the shoes of America's civil rights leaders, and speak to those who were involved. Doing so will strengthen students' experience and understanding of our country's history, as well as what it means to be powerful agents of social change, to a higher level. Finally, upon returning, students work in groups to create documentary films synthesizing themes from their experiences. These films are shown in a final teach-in before the students complete their Middle School experience at IDEAL.

IDEALtalks

TedTalks are all about sparking curiosity and celebrating ideas, and IDEALTalks bring this same spirit to our school by providing a platform for our students to investigate, research, consider, and present their own creative ideas, while simultaneously supporting them in developing 21st century communication skills. All IDEAL eighth graders explore a topic of interest and present a new idea, argument, invention, or solution to address an existing problem or concern. After drafting and rehearsing their presentations, students present an eight- to ten-minute speech during an Upper School assembly. Just as in professional TedTalks, students incorporate video and slides into their presentations. Eighth graders have explored a variety of topics, including women in religion, photography, basketball, the power of slam poetry, and the mistreatment of New York City's carriage horses

1:1 Laptop Program

IDEAL’s 1:1 laptop program in the Middle and High Schools equips each student with a Chromebook to foster productivity, research, and organization skills and to instill in our students the creativity, digital literacy, and communication and collaboration skills needed for success in the 21st century.

As a result of our 1:1 laptop program, technology is integrated throughout IDEAL’s program. Students develop persuasive presentations on Prezis, Canva, and Google Slides, produce stop-motion animation films and videos for class projects, and do original research for our Civil Rights Museum. Students collaborate to compose papers, peer-edit drafts, and share notes and knowledge using Google Docs. Our Learning Management System allows students to review assignments and course documents online and extends learning beyond the classroom as students and faculty continue classroom conversations electronically through blogs and other social media.

IDEAL’s Responsible Use Policy and Honor Code provide the foundation for regular conversations about digital literacy in advisory. IDEAL is also partnered with Common Sense Media and is an official Common Sense Supporter School. As a result of our partnership, we provide a variety of trainings and resources on digital literacy for faculty, families, and students about using social media and digital tools ethically and productively.